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Thursday, January 26th, 2012, 11:28 am

Disinformation on the Web

Jesse Ventura

TERMS like “conspiracy theory” have become increasingly common when describing particular stories that are dubious. These terms (there are variations) have become synonymous with “false story” because more often than not they comprise scare-mongering and misdirection. There have been suggestions that sites promoting those “conspiracy theories” should be banned, but really, such theories have always existed and spread verbally. One of the fun things about the Web is that we can give visibility to such “conspiracy theories” and then bedunk them, helping people acquire or strengthen their critical skills. Like lateral thinking, critical skills equip people with a set of tests to apply in order to assess the validity of an argument, be it about religion, history, or whatever. So I’m all in favour of letting “conspiracy theories” spread. They help show people that not everything they hear is true, not even what they see on their television set. (Credit: image by Cory Barnes)

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